The participation of both civil society and government is essential to the success of the Open Government Partnership. Their collaboration is vital at the international level and within each participating country. That is why OGP participants commit to developing their National Action Plans through a multi-stakeholder process, with the active engagement of citizens and civil society. OGP’s consultation requirements ask countries to “identify an existing or new forum to enable regular multi-stakeholder consultation on OGP implementation.” The majority of OGP countries by now fulfill this requirement.
This document shows the advantages of having a Multistakeholder Forum (or simply Forum) – a structured environment designed to maximize participation and cooperation between government and civil society by bringing relevant partners into the discussion and ensuring that all voices are heard. A Forum is a cornerstone of each country’s successful participation in OGP and is crucial to delivering collaborative open government reform. However, no two Forums are identical – the character of each nation’s government and civil society participants will influence the model they design and the practices they adopt for their open government work.
A survey of points of contact, members of civil society organizations (CSOs) and Independent Reporting Mechanism’s (IRM) researchers conducted by the OGP Support Unit found that most Forums focus on monitoring and improving National Action Plan commitments. Almost half of respondents saw the Forum as a way to integrate others into OGP activities and promote open government policy beyond the Plan.
The work in this publication is based on research commissioned by the OGP Support Unit. The purpose of the commisioned research was to capture the rich experiences in OGP countries with different models of permanent dialogue and collaboration, and to create a practical, action oriented handbook with ideas and guidance for the OGP community – both within government and civil society.
Ernesto Velasco-Sánchez developed a methodology and conducted the research independently of OGP. All findings in this report emanate from his efforts and should be understood as third party recommendations to the OGP community.
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